James 1:19 — “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;”
I am a terrible listener when distracted. If we are in a crowd, the multiple conversations of the group will get my attention. Busy restaurants are difficult for me. If it is a beautiful day outside and the light is shining through the window, my eyes gaze out the window mesmerizing me and making it difficult to hear the person talking.
If I want to say something and my mind is gathering information to express that comment, I have a difficult time continuing to listen to the person talking. If I am playing a video game, forget it. If the TV is on forget it. If it’s a sporting event, it is like that person is not even there. When the conversation takes place, and you are in different rooms, forget about it. Long phone conversations don’t work well for me either. Do you have these issues or am I alone?
Listening To Your Wife
Having an advanced degree in counseling only helps when my focus is complete, and that takes effort and foresight. I know how to listen. I know how to ask questions, but first, my attention must be there. I admit, my wife will talk to me anytime, and as a result, my focus is not complete, and many conversations disappear. She’ll say, “Do you remember when I told you about the Smiths coming over for dinner?” And I won’t have a clue.
Communication between husbands and wives are hugely important. Men don’t talk as much, and we certainly don’t make it a practice of listening. If I am talking to my buddies, I better well get the thought out in three sentences or less. Otherwise, it’s gone. Unless it’s sports, our attention span is rather short.
Guys, it’s important to listen to your wives and pay attention to what they have to say. If you love her, you will learn to care enough to listen and interact in meaningful conversations. Here are some tips.
- Eliminate the distractions. (reread above)
- Make eye contact. I feel most comfortable being 10 to 20 feet away for long conversations.
- Find out the topic you are talking about before the discussion starts.
- Rephrase what she is saying or restate what she said. It will help you to stay focused.
- Ask questions. Don’t argue with her, if possible. The right questions will help to clarify.
- Don’t look at your watch but help her to move in the right direction. Gently help her to keep the discussion moving towards completion. (If you are in a cabin in the woods or retired, forget this point and be thankful for the conversation.)
- Find a good location where there are few distractions, and you both feel comfortable. If necessary, go to that cabin in the woods for more long-term severe discussions.
- Pray. Maintain a spirit of prayer during the conversation. It will help you maintain the humility necessary for authentic communication. She will pick up on your attitude before your words.
By Paul Veerman
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